I know I just told you that I like making small batches of cookies. In fact I specifically belabored the point, stressing how boringit is to baby sit sheet after sheet of cookies. So maybe you’ll understand why I have always sucked big time at sugar cookies. I roll them too thin, the dough instantly becomes a sticky mess, and whatever shapes the kids make with their cookie cutters just smoosh together into sticky misshapen scraps of dough. Plus there’s the chilling, baking, cutting, chilling, cooling, over and over and over.
And yet, what is more fun than decorating sugar cookies? So I endeavor onward into new cookie territory year after year. This year I am excited to report I found a great recipe that worked just right. Actually, while the recipe is very good, it really is the technique that makes all the difference. So even if your sugar cookie dough comes in a blue tube in the refrigerated aisle you can still use this technique for easy cookie cutting.
This sugar cookie recipe, from The Perfect Pantry, was great: buttery and sweet, yet sturdy enough for cutting and decorating. The technique of rolling out the dough between sheets of wax paper and then chilling them made the process so easy I didn’t even mind the waiting as tray after tray of cookies went into the oven (although, I won’t lie: there’s at least a sheet’s worth of dough wrapped in plastic in the fridge because-after four sheets-I just couldn’t do it anymore). I used my usual sugar cookie icing which is sweet and dries shiny and hard.
Sugar Cookiesmakes about 3 dozen depending on size, prep 2 hours, cook time 30 min
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the egg, milk and vanilla.
- Mix in the dry ingredients slowly until will combined.
- Place half the dough on a sheet of wax or parchment paper and cover with an additional sheet.
- Rolling on top of the paper, roll out the dough until it is a uniform thickness about a 1/4 inch.
- Transfer sheet of dough to the fridge to chill and repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Once dough has chilled 30 min, take out one sheet and lay out on a counter.
- Peel off one sheet of paper then replace it and flip the dough. Remove the top piece of paper and reserve.
- Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. For hand print turkeys trace around a little hand with a dull knife.
- Peel up dough scrapes then transfer shapes to baking sheet. The paper really comes in handy here because you can lift the dough by the paper and peel it off so you aren’t smooshing your shape.
- Bake cookies for about 8 min or until edges are barely brown. Allow to cool on sheet for a min then transfer to a wire rack. Chill baking sheet.
- Place your dough scraps back between the paper and roll out again and place back into the fridge.
- Repeat with second chilled sheet of dough and so on and so on on until you use it all, or you get bored. Usually the latter.
- Cool cookies completely before decorating.
To decorate you can dip the cookies, or spread the icing on with a spoon or spatula. I like to let the kids paint it on with paint brushes I use just for cookies.
Basic Glossy Sugar Cookie Icingmakes about 1 cup, prep 5 min
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp flavor extract if desired
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a spoon, drizzling with corn syrup as needed to thin.
- Separate into smaller bowls or frosting bags and add food coloring as desired.
- Icing dries quickly and is shiny and hard.
The cookies can be frozen fully decorated and simply thawed at room temperature in a few minutes. Make it easy on yourself and make some now for holiday parties or gift giving!